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Olive Garden


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26 replies to this topic

#1 Marilyn R

 
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Posted 02 April 2012 - 03:18 PM

A co-worker wanted to treat me to lunch because I helped her out with her work load fairly significantly. I told her it wasn't necessary and actually prefer to pack my lunch. She told me I could pick the restaurant of my choice. She sent me a text message this morning asking where I wanted to go. I told her I'd like to go to Wendy's. She insisted that we go to a nicer restuarant, she wanted to buy me a "real" lunch. I told her I'd never had a problem with Wendy's Chili and a baked potato, and that's where I'd like to go. She insisted that we go to a "nice restaurant". I offerred up Olive Garden. I haven't been there since going gluten-free, but had read they have a gluten-free menu.

We both ordered salad, no croutons, and the server grated parmesan cheese on the salad. I inquired about the gluten-free pasta, because I don't tolerate quinoa. The server checked with the kitchen and manager, and said their pasta was quinoa. I said I'd just have salad then. She recommended grilled chicken and veggies with apricot sauce, but I told her that didn't appear on the gluten-free menu. Dear server went to the kitchen again and said that the sauce had gluten in it, but they could prepare it plain. I agreed.

As the server was presenting our lunches, the manager showed up to make sure that everything was okay. I thanked him for the great service and extra attention. The server was grinding parmesan cheese on my co-workers meal and asked me if I would like some. I said yes, and the manager said "Wait, I'll get you different parmesan cheese." I asked him why, and he said "we do a light coating of flour on our parmesan cheese." I was so astounded and asked why they do that. He said it helps prevent the graters from getting cheese stuck in them.

The server apologized and said she should have known that.

Maybe it won't end up being more that 20 parts per million.

Who would think they'd stick flour in parmesan cheese?


Lessons learned: do not submit to peer pressure and beware of the cheese at Olive Garden. Sheesh! :ph34r:
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Positive improvement from elimination diet. Mother dx'd by Mayo Clinic in late 1980s. Negative blood tests and Upper & Lower GI biopsy. Parathyroidectomy 12/09. Recurring high calcium level 4/10. Gluten-free 4/10. Soy & Dairy Free 6/10. Corn free 7/10. Grain free except rice 8/10. Legume free 6/11. Fighting the battle of the battle within myself, and I'm going to win!

As of 2/12, tolerating dairy, corn, legumes and some soy, but I limit soy to tamari sauce or modest soy additives. Won't ever try quinoa again!

Discoid Lupus from skin biopsy 2011, discovered 2/12 when picking up medical records. Systemic Lupus Dx 6/12. Shingles 10/12.

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#2 Lisa

 
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Posted 02 April 2012 - 03:27 PM

I would think it wise to contact Olive Garden and confirm what the manager told you.

Although, good intentioned, that information may or may not be accurate. Or perhaps, piss poor practice at a very marginal restaurant.

http://www.olivegard...luten-allergen/

https://www.olivegar...-Us/Contact-Us/

EDIT: I have contacted to company and will post their response asap.
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Lisa

Gluten Free - August 15, 2004

"Not all who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkien

#3 CarolinaKip

 
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Posted 02 April 2012 - 04:40 PM

I so understand! My friend wants me to come to her daughters birthday party which is a cookout. Her and her husband was insisting they would have Nathans hotdogs and wanted me to be able to eat. I thanked them and said it was okay, I didn't have to eat. They were even more insisting...I had to explain their grill has had gluten on it. I don't want to hurt their feelings, however, the next day I am taking a trip and do not want to be sick for half of it. They said they'd wrap it in foil, and I said guys thanks, but no. People mean well, but they have no idea how sick we can get and would prefer to eat where we know we are safe or not eat. I'm so glad you posted this. I wouldn't have thought that either.
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#4 Marilyn R

 
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Posted 02 April 2012 - 04:49 PM

Thanks Lisa, I actually asked the server to show me the cheese. She flipped opened the top of her grater, and the cheese was in fact "dusted" with flour. The manager returned with some shaved parmesan on a plate for my lunch.

My co-worker said the flour was only on the top, so it should be okay. I don't know if it's just a local practice, but it blew my hair back, and I was wearing a hat!
  • 0
Positive improvement from elimination diet. Mother dx'd by Mayo Clinic in late 1980s. Negative blood tests and Upper & Lower GI biopsy. Parathyroidectomy 12/09. Recurring high calcium level 4/10. Gluten-free 4/10. Soy & Dairy Free 6/10. Corn free 7/10. Grain free except rice 8/10. Legume free 6/11. Fighting the battle of the battle within myself, and I'm going to win!

As of 2/12, tolerating dairy, corn, legumes and some soy, but I limit soy to tamari sauce or modest soy additives. Won't ever try quinoa again!

Discoid Lupus from skin biopsy 2011, discovered 2/12 when picking up medical records. Systemic Lupus Dx 6/12. Shingles 10/12.

#5 Lisa

 
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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:00 PM

Thanks Lisa, I actually asked the server to show me the cheese. She flipped opened the top of her grater, and the cheese was in fact "dusted" with flour. The manager returned with some shaved parmesan on a plate for my lunch.

My co-worker said the flour was only on the top, so it should be okay. I don't know if it's just a local practice, but it blew my hair back, and I was wearing a hat!

I expect that it would! :blink:

Whether it's a site practice or general policy, I am on a mission to find out. It's unacceptable either way!

BUT...I will await the Corporate response, before I make rash judgements. B)
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Lisa

Gluten Free - August 15, 2004

"Not all who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkien

#6 psawyer

 
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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:04 PM

Dusted with flour to prevent sticking? Not likely. Wet flour acts as a glue. When an anti-stick agent is added to shredded or ground cheese, it is almost always cellulose. Cellulose is gluten-free.

I'm not saying this place isn't dumb enough to try flour, just saying that it would not work.
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#7 pricklypear1971

 
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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:16 PM

Dusted with flour to prevent sticking? Not likely. Wet flour acts as a glue. When an anti-stick agent is added to shredded or ground cheese, it is almost always cellulose. Cellulose is gluten-free.

I'm not saying this place isn't dumb enough to try flour, just saying that it would not work.


Exactly. Which is the scary part.
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#8 Marilyn R

 
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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:18 PM

I so understand! My friend wants me to come to her daughters birthday party which is a cookout. Her and her husband was insisting they would have Nathans hotdogs and wanted me to be able to eat. I thanked them and said it was okay, I didn't have to eat. They were even more insisting...I had to explain their grill has had gluten on it. I don't want to hurt their feelings, however, the next day I am taking a trip and do not want to be sick for half of it. They said they'd wrap it in foil, and I said guys thanks, but no. People mean well, but they have no idea how sick we can get and would prefer to eat where we know we are safe or not eat. I'm so glad you posted this. I wouldn't have thought that either.


That's it in a nutshell. DP said, "Aw, you caved in amd we had safe salmon and grilled chicken leftovers here you could have made a great lunch with." He was upset that I didn't stick to my guns about Wendy's. Maybe I won't be sick, but it's stressful just wondering if I will be, and I could have had a perfectly wonderful lunch if I'd packed it. (Romaine lettuce and cucumber slices, sliced charcoal grilled chicken, olives, hearts of palm, basil viniagrette with blue cheese.) I'm not feeling anything yet except tingling ears, so maybe it will be ok. But I agree, kip, it's not worth it. Our guts are more important than social niceties.
  • 0
Positive improvement from elimination diet. Mother dx'd by Mayo Clinic in late 1980s. Negative blood tests and Upper & Lower GI biopsy. Parathyroidectomy 12/09. Recurring high calcium level 4/10. Gluten-free 4/10. Soy & Dairy Free 6/10. Corn free 7/10. Grain free except rice 8/10. Legume free 6/11. Fighting the battle of the battle within myself, and I'm going to win!

As of 2/12, tolerating dairy, corn, legumes and some soy, but I limit soy to tamari sauce or modest soy additives. Won't ever try quinoa again!

Discoid Lupus from skin biopsy 2011, discovered 2/12 when picking up medical records. Systemic Lupus Dx 6/12. Shingles 10/12.

#9 Lisa

 
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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:21 PM

Dusted with flour to prevent sticking? Not likely. Wet flour acts as a glue. When an anti-stick agent is added to shredded or ground cheese, it is almost always cellulose. Cellulose is gluten-free.

I'm not saying this place isn't dumb enough to try flour, just saying that it would not work.

Although I understand your concern Marilyn, I tend to agree with Peter. It would make no sense to dust cheese with one of the main allergens on a serving that is declared gluten free. Many graded cheeses that you find in the grocery store have cellulose as an anti-caking ingredient. They look similar i.e. cellulose/flour.

But then....stupid happens. <_< I'll let you know when I receive a response.
  • 0
Lisa

Gluten Free - August 15, 2004

"Not all who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkien

#10 Eleanor Creasey

 
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Posted 02 April 2012 - 05:52 PM

Wow...I recently ate at Olive Garden. Thanks for posting this info. :)

A co-worker wanted to treat me to lunch because I helped her out with her work load fairly significantly. I told her it wasn't necessary and actually prefer to pack my lunch. She told me I could pick the restaurant of my choice. She sent me a text message this morning asking where I wanted to go. I told her I'd like to go to Wendy's. She insisted that we go to a nicer restuarant, she wanted to buy me a "real" lunch. I told her I'd never had a problem with Wendy's Chili and a baked potato, and that's where I'd like to go. She insisted that we go to a "nice restaurant". I offerred up Olive Garden. I haven't been there since going gluten-free, but had read they have a gluten-free menu.

We both ordered salad, no croutons, and the server grated parmesan cheese on the salad. I inquired about the gluten-free pasta, because I don't tolerate quinoa. The server checked with the kitchen and manager, and said their pasta was quinoa. I said I'd just have salad then. She recommended grilled chicken and veggies with apricot sauce, but I told her that didn't appear on the gluten-free menu. Dear server went to the kitchen again and said that the sauce had gluten in it, but they could prepare it plain. I agreed.

As the server was presenting our lunches, the manager showed up to make sure that everything was okay. I thanked him for the great service and extra attention. The server was grinding parmesan cheese on my co-workers meal and asked me if I would like some. I said yes, and the manager said "Wait, I'll get you different parmesan cheese." I asked him why, and he said "we do a light coating of flour on our parmesan cheese." I was so astounded and asked why they do that. He said it helps prevent the graters from getting cheese stuck in them.

The server apologized and said she should have known that.

Maybe it won't end up being more that 20 parts per million.

Who would think they'd stick flour in parmesan cheese?


Lessons learned: do not submit to peer pressure and beware of the cheese at Olive Garden. Sheesh! :ph34r:


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Gluten-free since 2000


#11 Marilyn R

 
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Posted 03 April 2012 - 03:18 PM

I did, in fact get glutened. :ph34r:

Threw up 3 times at 10:30 a.m., 22 hours after the lunch, and I still have nausea and no appetitite.

Peter & Lisa, I used to avoid buying grated cheeses because I didn't know what cellulose was. I've been able to tolerate grated, bagged cheeses from the dairy section without a problem for months. The server grated the cheese on my salad, not the kitchen staff.

If I was only experiencing neuro symptoms, I could attribute that to a Lupus flare, but since I have the GI symptoms, I'm pretty certain its gluten. And the server specifically apologized for having shredded the cheese on my salad, stating she should have known not to do that. I told her I wouldn't have known not to do that either, and that I'd probably be fine, since it had to be a very small amount of flour.

I'm really interested in what Olive Garden says. Co-worker never called to see if I was okay, as far as social niceties go. :P (LOL)
  • 0
Positive improvement from elimination diet. Mother dx'd by Mayo Clinic in late 1980s. Negative blood tests and Upper & Lower GI biopsy. Parathyroidectomy 12/09. Recurring high calcium level 4/10. Gluten-free 4/10. Soy & Dairy Free 6/10. Corn free 7/10. Grain free except rice 8/10. Legume free 6/11. Fighting the battle of the battle within myself, and I'm going to win!

As of 2/12, tolerating dairy, corn, legumes and some soy, but I limit soy to tamari sauce or modest soy additives. Won't ever try quinoa again!

Discoid Lupus from skin biopsy 2011, discovered 2/12 when picking up medical records. Systemic Lupus Dx 6/12. Shingles 10/12.

#12 Lisa

 
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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:16 PM

So sorry that you got 'hit' Marilyn. :(

I can't help but wonder if this is a practice at your particular Olive Garden. It's hard for me to understand that this could be common practice nationally.

I have not received a reply and hopefully I will in the next day or so. I searched for a phone number for corporate customer relations, but no.

The Celiac Community needs to know! ;) Hope for a speedy recovery!
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Lisa

Gluten Free - August 15, 2004

"Not all who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkien

#13 CeliacAndCfsCrusader

 
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Posted 03 April 2012 - 04:45 PM

I know this won't help, but no matter how difficult, you have to stick to your guns.

I went to the birthday party of a dear friend, "guys night out party" and the steaks were 2 inches thick, grilled potatoes, etc etc and I had to turn it down. It was tough to be left out, but I still enjoyed myself...especially knowing that I ate at Chipotle beforehand and needn't worry about be c/c'd.

Even though "they" don't understand that it's a hassle to actually worry for 24 hours to see if you actually get sick, we sure know the truth.

Feel better and chalk it up to experience.

PS: Here's a hint I use when someone is pressuring me, I say "I have to think of it this way, it's like you eating 1/2 cooked chicken and wondering what the results might be". That usually gets them off my back! :-)
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#14 Marilyn R

 
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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:39 PM

So sorry that you got 'hit' Marilyn. :(

I can't help but wonder if this is a practice at your particular Olive Garden. It's hard for me to understand that this could be common practice nationally.

I have not received a reply and hopefully I will in the next day or so. I searched for a phone number for corporate customer relations, but no.

The Celiac Community needs to know! ;) Hope for a speedy recovery!

I'll be fine. We all take a lickin' now and then and keep on ticking. I'd never still be up at this hour but my neuro symptoms have kicked in full blast! That server and the manager of Olive Market didn't seem like they just fell off the Turnip Truck.

My guess is that they were following procedure, except that the server made a mistake. I could be wrong. Both were competant and attentive even though we had lunch during peak season in a tourist destination and right dead center in the middle of lunch hour. I could be wrong, I could have a rogue Olive Garden in my neck of the woods, in which case I apologize for smearing thier reputation.
  • 0
Positive improvement from elimination diet. Mother dx'd by Mayo Clinic in late 1980s. Negative blood tests and Upper & Lower GI biopsy. Parathyroidectomy 12/09. Recurring high calcium level 4/10. Gluten-free 4/10. Soy & Dairy Free 6/10. Corn free 7/10. Grain free except rice 8/10. Legume free 6/11. Fighting the battle of the battle within myself, and I'm going to win!

As of 2/12, tolerating dairy, corn, legumes and some soy, but I limit soy to tamari sauce or modest soy additives. Won't ever try quinoa again!

Discoid Lupus from skin biopsy 2011, discovered 2/12 when picking up medical records. Systemic Lupus Dx 6/12. Shingles 10/12.

#15 Marilyn R

 
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Posted 07 April 2012 - 09:10 PM

So sorry that you got 'hit' Marilyn. :(

I can't help but wonder if this is a practice at your particular Olive Garden. It's hard for me to understand that this could be common practice nationally.

I have not received a reply and hopefully I will in the next day or so. I searched for a phone number for corporate customer relations, but no.

The Celiac Community needs to know! ;) Hope for a speedy recovery!


I used your earlier link to contact them tonight. Did they ever respond to you, Lisa?
  • 0
Positive improvement from elimination diet. Mother dx'd by Mayo Clinic in late 1980s. Negative blood tests and Upper & Lower GI biopsy. Parathyroidectomy 12/09. Recurring high calcium level 4/10. Gluten-free 4/10. Soy & Dairy Free 6/10. Corn free 7/10. Grain free except rice 8/10. Legume free 6/11. Fighting the battle of the battle within myself, and I'm going to win!

As of 2/12, tolerating dairy, corn, legumes and some soy, but I limit soy to tamari sauce or modest soy additives. Won't ever try quinoa again!

Discoid Lupus from skin biopsy 2011, discovered 2/12 when picking up medical records. Systemic Lupus Dx 6/12. Shingles 10/12.




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